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You Achieve Lean Manufacturing Goals With Fat Tools? Word count: 601 words Reading Time: 2 minutes 30 seconds Key Take Away: Key evaluation questions about tool selection that can help you reduce waste. The worldwide competition for business gets tougher every day. Clearly that is a statement of the obvious. But sometimes the obvious can be overlooked in the overly complicated Lean Manufacturing processes that were meant to be simple. One of those obvious but overlooked places can be in tool selection. When a process or a tool consumes more resources than necessary to produce the goods the user wants, that tool can produce three kinds of waste: muda (wastefulness), muri (overburden) and mura (unevenness). Unfortunately there are more fat tools on the market than we realize. Most of us tend to see muda most often, but that doesnt mean that muri and mura are not there as well. You wont reach the maximum reduction in the waste areas of motion, waiting, inventory, or human potential unless your team has the right tools. What are lean tools? In general lean tools are: 1. Ergonomic to prevent wasted movement and reduce waiting time. 2. Able to immediately provide quality status to the worker, and communicate progress and results to the supervisor and management to reduce waiting time. 3. Able to bring up production parameters from the manufacturing system to ensure the appropriate work is done at the right time. This reduces waste/scrap or over production. 4. Equipped with a robust communication system to ensure data is not lost or contaminated by crosstalk or poor reception. This can eliminate waste in several of the categories. 5. Updated electronically, automatically and globally quickly and easily. 6. Intuitive to use, saving training time while reducing the learning curve. Not only does this help reduce waiting time and scrap, it also reduce the waste of human resources. 7. Highly durable to reduce tool inventory and calibration/repair costs. Multiple wastes are driven out with this factor 8. High cycle durability for both the battery and the tool itself. Some battery operated tools last 70,000 cycles on a AA battery. A tool from another company doing the same task might only last 20,000 cycles before the battery must be replaced. 9. Extremely accurate to reduce errors at the source rather than in rework. 10. Versatile so one tool can quickly change heads and do several jobs instead of just one.

11. Easily able to reach hard to access spots where the tool is needed. 12. Contribute to the value stream mapping content. Another place waste creeps into play, is in the purchasing cycle. Too many times buying the least expensive tool turns out the most expensive option. Any savings realized by buying the lowest price tool can easily be lost in operating, repair, calibration, certification and replacement costs. It can become easy to focus on unit cost rather than the acquisition and operating costs that comprise the total cost picture. In the end, buying cheap creates waste in inventory, waiting, scrap, and more. And it overburdens (muri) your finances. You have invested significant resources into developing a manufacturing system that is as lean as possible but you may have overlooked your tools. If they dont eliminate waste then you will never achieve the waste reduction goals. The use of lean metrics can be a good scorecard to help you see the entire picture of your continual improvement progress. Make sure you have a scorecard on how well your tools are eliminating waste. Dont have a lean tool scorecard? We can help you create one specifically for you. To talk more about your Lean Manufacturing process or how intelligent torque tools can help you reduce waste, contact Sturtevant Richmont Customer Service at 1800.877.1347 Sturtevant Richmont: Innovation and the highest quality in torque tools since 1940.